Mother’s Day Tips to Help Families Discuss Care Needs

Western Springs, IL (April 19, 2007) – Do you know your mom’s wishes should she be diagnosed with a chronic illness or face age-related challenges? As America’s population ages, many people are finding their Golden Years tarnished due to unanticipated medical problems.

This Mother’s Day when families gather to recognize and thank mom for her never-ending love and encouragement, it may also be time for adult children to recognize physical limitations or cognitive changes. A great way to honor mom is by taking the time to talk about her wishes should she need assistance with daily living activities. Chances are she will be more open to sharing her wishes before she finds herself facing an adverse health event that may threaten her independence. Whenever possible, plan ahead. It is a lot easier to carry out someone’s wishes when you know what they are.

If during a Mother’s Day gathering you come to realize mom may be struggling as a result of aging or illness, you might find the following tips offered by Mary Doepke, Owner of Home Helpers to be helpful:

Ask your mom to share her…

  • hopes and wishes for retirement
  • fears and concerns about growing old or becoming ill
  • wishes should care become necessary
  • expectations of family members in terms of roles and responsibilities
  • thoughts on purchasing long-term care insurance to help pay for care

If mom is reluctant to share her thoughts or accept your attempts to offer a helping hand, Mary Doepke offers a couple of recommendations:

  • Express your concerns in a kind and gentle way. For example, you might say “Mom, please let me know what your wishes are should you reach a point in life when care or assistance may become necessary. I can only honor your wishes if I know what they are.”
  • Encourage her to proactively seek care and assistance. For example, you might say “Mom, I wish you would make a choice now instead of waiting for a crisis to occur and then having a choice made for you.”

Many families talk about news, weather and sports and avoid discussing matters which may be considered personal and private. With adult children often taking on the role of family caregiver and also providing financially for their parents’ care, there is value in being prepared.

Doepke says “in cases where mom is willing to accept needed assistance, it is often helpful to share the care responsibilities with an organization providing professional caregiving services such as Home Helpers. Due to family, work and community obligations, professional caregivers can help make life easier by assisting with activities of daily living. Professional caregivers can provide help around the house, assistance with transportation and errands, and offer companionship to help keep older adults engaged and active.”